The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) says Zimbabwe’s bold move to conduct diamond auctions on its own is a critical step in developing the local gem industry.
The Belgium-based AWDC, ranks as the largest diamond trading hub in the world although it is facing stiff competition from centres in Dubai, India and Israel.
Zimbabwe has sold its gems more than three times at Antwerp, raking in over $100 million from the sale of over 1,63 million carats since December 2013 when it was first allowed to auction its diamonds in the European Union.
And to gain experience, the Government has also sold its gems in other markets as the country prepared to set up its own diamond auction.
The first local diamond auction was held in November last year.
“Zimbabwe has always been, and still is a key trading partner for the Antwerp diamond industry. Antwerp is proud that Zimbabwe held its first local tender, based on the Antwerp Tender System,” the AWDC said in its full report for 2014 released last week.
The Government’s initiative to start holding its own diamond auctions is most certainly a positive step towards continuing to build a strong and robust future for the Zimbabwean diamond industry.”
A total of 400 buyers and 133 companies attended the first local diamond auction where about 300 000 carats went under the hammer.
Companies that have had diamonds sold at the auctions include Mbada, Anjin, Diamond Mining Corporation, Marange Resource and Jinan.
And to better manage the diamond industry, the Government is in the process of merging the more than five companies mining the gems into one corporation.
This, it is believed, will improve efficiencies and curtail leakages rocking the industry which are disadvantaging the economy.
The Government will have a 50 percent shareholding in the consolidated entity while the other private companies divide the remainder among themselves.
Antwerp said it would continue to co-operate with Zimbabwe “so as to secure mutually beneficial rewards, based on full transparency.”
The diamond hub said in its full year, the total value of diamond exports and imports marginally improved to $58,8 billion from $56,5 billion in 2013.
“Despite heavy competition from rivalling diamond hubs, more goods were imported and exported year-on- year,” the AWDC said.